Posts Tagged tangerines

Ontario oranges

I’ve taken my jam obsession on the road before now, making marmalade in California and golden greengage jam in Germany. But I never thought I would make marmalade from home-grown Ontario oranges. Locavore jam in January? In Northern Ontario? Madness.

Except that the spouse’s cousin, who lives up near Sault Ste Marie, is the proud owner of a waist-high indoor citrus tree, which this year was laden with a few dozen citrus somethings, a tiny tangerine style fruit, with loose, thin, sweet peel and a pucker-your-mouth inside. They were the size of a quarter (plus a few big twonies and a couple of nickels) and they were so ripe that some were falling off the tree. But they are so bitter inside that nobody wanted to eat them. My eyes lit up? Citrus-something marmalade?

Of course without knowing what the fruit was it was hard to find a recipe, but when did I ever let that get in the way of making jam? Even a worst-case scenario would create a citrus syrup for cakes or pancakes, so what did we have to lose? Here is the non-recipe for about a jar of marmalade from miniature mandarin-kumquat-orange-citrus somethings. Ten minutes prep time, an hour of sitting around time, then 25 minutes to boil and bottle the jam and clean up the kitchen.

Miniature citrus marmalade

Wash and slice the fruit (peel and all), removing any pits, and measure your chopped up fruit by  volume. We started with just under a pound of fruit, which yielded just over a cup of fruit/peel mix. We mixed that with a scant cup of sugar, and about a quarter cup of water. Then there was a pause while we went off snowshoeing for an hour, and by the time we got back, there was a bright orange goop, just waiting to be turned into a bright orange marmalade. Heat the mixture, slowly until the sugar dissolves, and then at the fastest boil your stove allows until it sets. That set took less than five minutes at a rolling boil, and that was basically it. I had optimistically sterilized three jars, which was two too many, but we divided our marmalade into two jars anyway, so that both families will get a taste. From the tiny taste we got in the clean-up, I would mark this one down as a success. It’s tart, but with an intense, orange taste and a nice, firm And the colour is beautiful too. Almost like apricot jam.

How awesome is that?

Update: This is a really nice marmalade, with a good, firm set and a taste that’s somewhere between bitter orange and sweet apricot. The peel has melted away to almost nothing, which makes it feel more like a jam than a marmalade, and I could never identify the taste. But it’s absolutely intriguing. If I ever had access to more miniature citrus somethings, I would definitely make it again. At least four out of five, plus a bonus point for sheer exotic wonderfulness.


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Meyers and mandarins

I skimmed through a blog posting a while back on a way to preserve mandarin oranges, peel and all, and turn them into something that looked like the perfect end to a heavy holiday season meal. But of course I didn’t bookmark it, so it was back to Google to search through a surprisingly large number of recipes for candied satsuma orange peel, and surprisingly few for the fruits themselves. I rejected one recipe that drew parallels between home-canned mandarin orange segments and the commercial ones I remember embedded in an orange jelly (jello) when I was growing up, and I rejected another because there seemed to be too much focus on red wine, and not enough on oranges.

But then I found a post from the wonderfully named Thyme on my side blog which was probably the recipe I coveted right at the start. She calls her clementines candied — I think syruped might be a better moniker — but what’s a word or two between friends. I was out of vanilla beans, so chose ginger and cardamon as my flavorings. I used mostly organic fruit — fewer chemicals and preservatives, I hope. Here is what I did.

Clementine oranges in ginger syrup

1,5kg organic clementines, washed and sliced very thin, peel and all (throw away the ends, which are all peel, and no fruit)
1/2 cup chopped up crystalized ginger
2 cups water
3-1/2 cups sugar
a few green cardamon pods

Heat the sugar, water and spices gently until the sugar has dissolved, then add the fruit and simmer until the oranges are tender — it took about 12 minutes.

Bottle in sterilized jars, packing the fruit in first and then covering with syrup to within 1/2 inch of the top of the jar. Water bath for 15 minutes (for 500 ml jars).

It made 3 jars, and there was enough syrup left over that I chopped up four Meyer lemons and boiled them up, which left me with one small jar of lemons in syrup, and half a jar of leftover syrup.

The oranges will go on cake, or on icecream. But like Lacey, I’m as stoked about the leftovers as I ever was about the jar. My half jar of syrup is bitingly tart, but gloriously tasty, with a lemon-orange taste and a gentle hint of ginger.

Now where did I put that recipe for lemon ginger thyme cake, and can I throw this on the top as a syrup?

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